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Dhaka Tribune

Mashrafe unclear about Soumya, Imrul inclusions

The veteran right-arm pacer was taken by surprise at the post-match press conference following the game against India after he was queried over the inclusion of the two batsman

Update : 22 Sep 2018, 02:02 AM

Bangladesh captain Mashrafe bin Mortaza said he was not clear about the inclusions of opening batsmen Imrul Kayes and Soumya Sarkar in the squad for the remainder of the Asia Cup in the UAE. 

The veteran right-arm pacer was taken by surprise at the post-match press conference following the game against India after he was queried over the inclusions of the two openers.

It is understood that the discussions started with regards to bringing in backup players after regular opener Tamim Iqbal got injured in the opening game of the Asia Cup against Sri Lanka last Saturday.

However, a final call on the inclusions came when Bangladesh were about to finish batting against India at Dubai International Cricket Stadium Friday.   

Bangladesh started the Super Four phase of the tournament with a seven-wicket defeat against India. 

The Tigers’ fate against India was largely sealed after a batting failure earlier Friday. 

Early fall of the two openers Liton Das and Nazmul Hossain Shanto saw Bangladesh get off to a poor start, pretty similar to their last group stage game, against Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi Thursday.

Mashrafe’s statement of being unaware of the inclusions suggests that the decision of including left-handed batsmen Imrul and Soumya had come in between the Bangladesh-India game. 

The inclusions were first informed by the BCB media manager Rabeed Imam at around 9pm, Bangladesh standard time, and later confirmed by BCB cricket operations committee chairman Akram Khan, currently in Dubai.

“I was in the field [when the decision was announced], so I am not clear about it,” said Mashrafe to the media Friday.

“Those who are coming have also lost their places in the team. As I said, I am not sure – there has not been a discussion on this. But they have been dropped because they have not performed. And in these conditions, coming in suddenly and taking the pressure – I don’t know what they have done technically, whether they have rectified the problems for which they were dropped in the first place. So all these things will matter in such a tournament. 

"And particularly in the Afghanistan match, if you think about it, they will have to face even tougher bowlers. For sure, it won’t be easy for anyone – not for those who are currently playing, nor for those coming in. But in international cricket –you have to score, bat well and bowl well within that, and we have staged comebacks like these. Nothing is impossible, whoever plays has to take a little responsibility,” Mashrafe added.

Bangladesh brought in Shanto in the playing XI in place of Tamim. Shanto, along with Liton have not been able to impress and cash in on the opportunity. In the two matches, Liton scored 13 runs while Shanto managed only a run more.

Meanwhile, Imrul and Soumya are both returning to the ODI fold having played their last game in October 2017 during Bangladesh’s tour of South Africa. 

The duo were dropped from the format due to their under-performance and since then, have not posted impressive enough scores in order to make a return. Both Imrul and Soumya were playing a four-day practice game for the BCB HP in Khulna when they were informed of their inclusions.

The duo are scheduled make a road trip to Dhaka Friday night and board a flight to Dubai Saturday evening from the capital city.

The manner in which the two inclusions was announced raised eyebrows as it revealed desperateness and panic from the BCB’s side. 

Bangladesh in order to survive in the rest of the Asia Cup have to win the two remaning games in the Super Four phase, against Afghanistan Sunday and Pakistan Wednesday.

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